Joshua Israel's Commentary

Posted January 21, 2008 (user submitted)

In Framingham, MA, Shoppers' World was one of the first shopping malls in America, from the 1950s through the 1990s. Located between Route 9 and Route 30, the mall was recognizable for its 47,000 foot dome over anchor store Jordan Marsh (built in the 1950s and removed in the mid 1990s, it was 54 feet high and 227 feet in diameter, according to the Boston Globe). When Shoppers' World opened on October 4, 1951 it became the nation's second suburban mall (a construction delay meant that a Minnesota mall just beat it to the title of "first").

Described by the Boston Globe as a "725,000-square-foot, two-level rectangle of buildings surrounding a grassy courtyard," it featured the Jordan Marsh store on one end and a Jordan's Basement store on the other.

The area was built like a modern, two story mall, though the center area was uncovered. In the summer, carts drove people around and kids played on the open air playground; in the winter, a large Christmas display with toy soldiers adorned the courtyard area. Shops, in the 1980s, included a General Cinemas movie theatre (the first cinema constructed at a mall), a Papa Gino's Pizza restaurant, a Toys 'R Us, a Radio Shack, a Herman's World of Sports, a Friendly's Ice Cream, a Hammett's Learning Center and several small local stores including Windsor Button.

During his 1984 presidential campaign, former South Dakota Democratic Senator George McGovern even did a meet-and-greet in the courtyard.

In its later years, the rise other nearby malls (including the Framingham Mall, the Route 30 Mall, and the Cloverleaf Mall each a few blocks away and the upscale Natick Mall right next door---connected to Shoppers' World by the humorously named "Flutie Pass") and new ownership meant the tearing down of the historic facility. In its place came a more typical strip-mall, bearing the same name.

Sources: my recollection, a Nexis search of Boston Globe articles, and the website linked below.


Framingham-Natick Retail - Information and pictures about this mall and other retail establishments in the area.
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